April 14, 2024

Empire strikes back: San Miguel back in the PBA Finals, as all-conquering flagships should

Empire strikes back: San Miguel back in the PBA Finals, as all-conquering flagships should
Art by Mitzi Solano/One Sports
The San Miguel Beermen are inevitable.


44 Finals appearances and currently 28-time champions, the Beermen are the Empire that lord over the PBA universe. "Flagship franchise" certainly suit San Miguel.


But unlike the Empire, the Beermen are a team that are truthfully hard to hate, even if they keep beating everyone’s favorite teams.


Leo Austria, the coach that guided San Miguel’s most recent dynasty, has haters? Coach Jorge Gallent, the new emperor in charge if you will, is he someone to be painted as a villain? Be for real, they’re not.


Don’t even get started with June Mar Fajardo, the one-man Death Star of the whole operation. If you actually saw June Mar’s Death Star plans, you’re more likely to choose to look in the other direction and just let him be.


It’s a bit of a rambling, but the San Miguel Beermen are only the Empire in the sense that they are ready to Strike Back. Two whole conferences without a title, let alone a Finals appearance, count as a drought with this franchise.


And in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals, the Beermen are bringing more than one Death Star to the battlefield. Not even five, San Miguel will field 15.


The brand-new weapon is import Bennie Boatwright, who actually hasn’t lost a PBA game so far. In seven outings as a Beerman, Boatwright is scoring a staggering 35.6 points and 12.0 rebounds per game.


A perfect fit next to June Mar, Bennie is good for 5.4 three-point makes per game as well, on a sensational 42 percent shooting.


The local crew is just as devastating. CJ Perez and Fajardo are good for at least 16 points a game.


Jericho Cruz and Marcio Lassiter are both on strong playoff runs right now, while Don Trollano and Jeron Teng are essentially luxuries for San Miguel.


Of course, there’s Chris Ross and Mo Tautuaa, two of the more tenured members of the team that are still oh so reliable.


Finally, while injuries continue to hamper his playing time, Terrence Romeo is averaging over 15 points a game, and would a perfect break-glass-in-case-of-emergency insurance if need be.


That’s a whole list of weapons San Miguel has, making the “Death 15” claim the actual truth as opposed to a mere quip.


The Beermen are both easy and hard to write about. On one hand, who do you put your focus on a team that feature so many superstars? On the other hand, you can just go a head and say yeah, this team is awesome, and good luck to their opponent.


The latter is easier. So yeah, in all honesty good luck to Magnolia, because the Empire is ready to Strike Back.